Becoming a Blue — Andy Davey
Andy Davey lives in New Zealand now but remembers like yesterday
BECOMING A BLUE — The Early Years
|One of the first conscious decisions I ever made as a very young child
in Ormskirk during the late 1960s was to be an Everton supporter. It
happened soon after my very first conscious decision which was to never
again put my tongue on the two shiny metal bits on the old war field
telephone when my elder brother, Steve, told me to and then cranked the
My decision to support Everton was affected by neither brain damage from repeated electric shocks as a toddler, nor from hereditary influences. My dad was from out in the sticks in Scarisbrick where football to him in them days was still about getting all the men and boys of the village and running in a big mob across the paddocks, beating the crap out of the men and boys from the village next door, with a ball thrown in just as a distraction. He had a strange affection for Wimbledon in later years...
The basis of my decision was not genetics but geography. It was a time when Everton were winning cups with Catterick and, across the park, Shankley was doing stuff with Liverpool. The kids from the local families that had moved to Ormskirk from Liverpool in recent years were getting very excited, and we felt we were missing out. Me and my brother knew a decision had to be made and we decided to support Everton because my brother worked out from the Ordinance Survey map that Goodison Park (at 13¼ miles) was a quarter of a mile closer to home than Anfield (13½ miles). So, to cement our pact to the Toffees, my mum bought us each a blue and white scarf from Ormskirk market and we joined in the Everton vs Liverpool urban warfare with the rest of the local kids.
A few years after this, my dad began to get interested in the modern version of the game and started going to watch Southport, first with his mates from work, and then he took me and my brother. We loved it. Getting dressed with three pairs of footy socks, four jumpers, two pair of pants, a hat and our Everton scarves we would waddle off to the game. I guess it was winter at the time.
It was a dump of a ground but we thought it was Wembley. The excitement when the PA (an old gramophone speaker on a stick) started playing "Da Do Ron Ron" and the heroic Sandgrounders would come out, Eric Redrobe, Andy Provan, et al. The climax was when we were there to see them win the old Division 4 Championship in 1972/73. My first pitch invasion. I think it was against Luton because I remember my brother saying the man in the stands with the flat cap, big coat and national health glasses was Eric Morecombe, who was Chairman of Luton at the time. I didn't spot him myself, 90% of the people in the stand had a flat cap, big coat and national health glasses on as far as I could see...
Going to watch Southport was always just an appetizer for live football me: the Black Jack before the Curly Wurly. I had set my heart on Everton years before and Southport certainly wasn't going to change that. I wish I could say the same for my brother. The first sign of trouble was when he got my mum to dye the white stripes of his Everton scarf to yellow so that it was the same colours as Southport: old gold (yellow) and blue.
I have a lot of difficulty with this memory and not just from the trauma that this blasphemous act caused me. How had my mum dyed the white parts yellow without making the blue bits green? I was sure there was some sort of black magic involved. Anyway, this was the first step on a very slippery slope. Like pot leads to smack, or computer programming leads to the Star Trek fan club, I had lost my brother to the dark side. Soon after, he came out and admitted it, he supported Liverpool.
The mid-seventies. My brother was in the Kop every other week and somewhere else around the country the next. I was still growing up at home waiting for my chance to see my team, Everton. When I was thirteen, my date with destiny arrived. It was the autumn of '77 and one of the lads in the gang, Garry Banks who was a year older than me (and rather keen on my sister), said he would take me with him to the match.
It was a special Saturday that was to be re-enacted every other week for the next 15 years or so. Watch 'Football Focus' or 'On the Ball' with a bacon and egg butty, leg it up to Aughton Park station and meet the lads, return ticket to Kirkdale, into the middle of the Street End and sing, pray, cry, shout, surge, hug and jump with the rest of them.
That first game was a cracker, although I must admit, I wasn't 100% sure what was going for most of the time. We were playing Newcastle and the Geordies were in good voice as normal. The game started and the goals started going in. After the first goal, Martin Dobson I think, the scoreboard said "Everton 1 6, Newcastle 0". The 6 must mean the sixth minute I thought, not knowing it was his shirt number.
Then came our second goal by Bob Latchford. "Everton 2 6 9" said the scoreboard. Wow, I thought, the games been going for what seemed like ages to me but we were still in the first ten minutes. Then Bobby got a second later on. "Everton 3 6 9 9". That was in the same minute as the last one! This place must be like some sort of a time warp. The final score was Everton 4, Newcastle 4. I can't remember all the details about the game but I know that if there were any questions in my heart about supporting Everton, they were gone forever. I did have some serious questions about the space-time continuum though.
There were lots of highs and lows in that first year of going to the game, I can't remember the lows. Tonking Chelsea 6 - 0 in the last game of the season with Bob Latchford getting his 30th goal was special. Getting caught in the surge after he scored the penalty, which left me over the wall and sliding down that green concrete crescent ramp thing behind the goal, my second pitch invasion. I ended up with a piece of the hallowed turf which I transplanted into our garden with great ceremony when I got home.
But best of all was the derby match at Goodison, 28 October 1978. The memory and partial deafness will live with me forever. 58,000 were there I think. The Street End was heaving. We started off in our usual spot just to the left of the middle. I don't think my feet touched the ground for the whole first half, I just floated around in the crush not seeing much just try to keep a fraction less pressure in front of me so I could breath every ten minutes.
At one point I remember getting swept past the "guy in the middle, clinging to the drain pipe with the scarf round his wrist" man who was there every week. When my feet touched the ground again at half time. I made my way to nearer the front to give me a better chance of seeing the game and living another day to write down my memories. I still couldn't see much until this old feller picked me up and stood me on one of the crush barriers. It was the 58th minute. Andy King. Amen.